Posts Tagged ‘Lewis MacKenzie’
- Way Up North More from the Kingston Whig-Standard on Operation Nanook: “At midnight, the sun skirts the northern horizon but it does not set. On a barren hill overlooking the Canadian Forces’ camp, Peter Oolateeta turns into the setting sun. Polar bears often wander into the area looking for food, and routine patrols of the camp perimeter are designed to discourage them from getting any closer. Armed with a Second World War-vintage No. 4 Lee Enfield .303 bolt-action rifle, Oolateeta is looking for signs of the area’s top predator. Oolateeta, from Pond Inlet on Baffin Island, is a member of the Canadian Rangers, a largely Inuit army reserve force that serves as Canada’s military presence in the North ….”
- Lew-Mac on Syria: “Don’t expect NATO to launch a campaign against the Syrian government, as it has against the Libyan government, at least according to one of Canada’s most senior military veterans. Retired Major General Lewis Mackenzie says military intervention in Syria would be a much more difficult mission politically. “They share a border with Turkey in particular. It would generate problems with displaced people. Syria gets support from Saudi Arabia which maybe shouldn’t be an ally of ours, but is certainly an ally to the United States,” he explains ….” Meanwhile, a bit of the latest from Syria here.
- Afghanistan (1) One of the U.S. Navy SEALS killed in the recent Chinook downing in Afghanistan was born in Quebec – American home-town obit here.
- Afghanistan (2) Another Royal Canadian Legion welcomes Afghan vets home. “It was the colour that struck him first. Face pressed against the window, Master Cpl. Charles Lavers soaked in the reds and yellows and greens of Quebec’s hardwood forests as his plane landed in November 2010. After serving seven months in Afghanistan, the then 23-year- old was returning home a war veteran. “The smell of the air when I got back to Nova Scotia was the next thing to hit me,” said Lavers. “I’d lived everyday with a 9-millimetre (pistol) on my leg and a C-7 (rifle) in hand, so it was kind of strange not carrying a gun . . . a good strange.” On Saturday, his was one of eight, relatively young faces at the Afghan veterans’ appreciation day held by the Royal Canadian Legion in Truro ….”
- Afghanistan (3) Whazzup for a Canadian helicopter company in Afghanistan as countries talk about winding down, getting out? “Canadian Helicopters Group is more than two years into its mission supporting the U.S. military in Afghanistan but is already thinking ahead to the next stage after hostilities end. “We are striving to be involved on a post-war basis to assist with reconstruction efforts,” president and CEO Don Wall said Friday in a conference call. The Montreal-based helicopter transportation company has been active in the country since early 2009. Options on current contracts could extend its military presence until the end of 2016 ….”
- Canadian company gets a good chunk of U.S. military business. “RTS Cos. Inc., Saint Clements, Canada, won a $523,179.37 federal contract from the Defense Commissary Agency’s Contracting Business Unit/Equipment and Maintenance Division, Fort Lee, Va., for specialty shopping carts with toy body designs.” Could this be the item being built and sold by the southwestern Ontario company?
- “When Quinte’s volunteer rescuers save their next life, they’ll do it in the name of Bruce Sutcliffe. Dignitaries christened the new Quinte Search and Rescue (QSAR) boat the Bruce A. Sutcliffe on Friday, a special tribute to the commanding officer of the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment who was killed in action in Sicily in 1943. The ceremony was held at Belleville’s Stu Meeks Rescue Dock near the foot of Church Street on the west side of Meyers Pier. “We’re very, very proud. It’s a great tribute,” said Sutcliffe’s daughter, Pat Hariton of Cobourg. “It is going to serve as a memorial for a very special son of the Quinte region,” Prince Edward-Hastings MPP Leona Dombrowsky told the crowd of several dozen people ….”
- Canada’s PM on the 50th anniversary of the building of the Berlin Wall: “Fifty years ago, the world saw Germany divided in two, with Berlin severed by the construction of the Berlin Wall, with the West retaining its rights and freedoms and the East succumbing to Communist oppression. The Berlin Wall became symbolic of division in the 20th Century – an imposing cement slab that became an integral part of the Iron Curtain between Western Europe and the Eastern Bloc. It also became a symbol of tyranny and evil as many innocent people fleeing communism were gunned down in their attempt to find freedom on the other side of the Wall in West Berlin. During the Cold War, many apologists for the Communist regime tried to convince the world that their ideology was superior. Fortunately, talented and courageous artists, writers and ordinary citizens were able to expose that what went on behind the Wall ran counter to all the ideals the West had fought for and the truth began to trickle out ….”
- No Fly Zone in Libya (1) – A Canadian General is taking the lead on NATO’s no fly mission. “A Canadian general was thrust Friday into the command role of NATO’s mission in Libya, taking responsibility for enforcing the no-fly zone and arms embargo as the United States continued to hand over control of the week-old campaign against Moammar Gadhafi. Lt.-Gen. Charles Bouchard will lead NATO forces in a mission Defence Minister Peter MacKay acknowledged Friday was “yet to be fully defined” by leaders of the international coalition tasked with protecting Libyans from forces loyal to Gadhafi. At a press briefing on Canada’s operations in Libya Friday, MacKay said the appointment of Bouchard to this key role is a testament to the respect Canada’s military enjoys around the world ….” The General’s official bio is here. More from Canadian Press here, Postmedia News here and the Globe & Mail here.
- No Fly Zone in Libya (2) - For once, ceasefire.ca mentions a good point. “…. The Alliance has not yet formally agreed to run the civilian-protection element of the mission, which is attempting to prevent attacks on Libyan civilians by conducting airstrikes on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s forces. NATO spokespersons stated on Friday that “NATO is actively considering whether to take on a broader role under the UN Security Council Resolution. Without prejudging the deliberations, we would expect a decision to take over all operations in the next few days.” ….”
- No Fly Zone in Libya (3) – More on the CP-140 Aurora’s headed downrange.
- No Fly Zone in Libya (4) – Retired General Lew-Mac raises a good point. “…. Absent well-defined political leadership for the implementation of UN Resolution 1973, we now have a number of coalition military actions that arguably go beyond the letter and the intent of the resolution and seem to be more in support of regime change than protecting civilian population centres. If that is the case, the Security Council should meet and sanction the current military actions in Libya in support of Resolution 1973 and clearly state the removal of Colonel Gadhafi as the mission’s objective. In the meantime, a ground invasion force led and dominated by Arab countries should be organized to deal with the inevitable, near-term stalemate.”
- No Fly Zone in Libya (5) – The Globe & Mail’s Margaret Wente also raises a good point. “Why is Canada at war in Libya? You won’t get the answer from our elected leaders. They’re too busy fighting an election to explain it to us. You can’t count on the opposition parties to raise awkward questions, either. They have better things to do at a crucial time like this. Besides, it’s just a little war. It will be over soon, unless it isn’t. If all goes well, perhaps Canadians won’t notice that our political class has committed us to an open-ended military action in North Africa without a clue about what the mission is, who’s in charge, or how deep the quagmire might get ….”
- No Fly Zone in Libya (6) – QMI’s Larry Cornies raises yet another intriguing question. “Canada’s military firepower is modest; its presence in the Mediterranean more symbolic than essential. Is there an opportunity here for Canada to lead on the diplomatic front to negotiate a post-Gadhafi solution with the same zeal it once displayed in advocating R2P?”
- In case you haven’t heard yet, we’re going into a federal election next month.
- Rash o’ Pre-Election Announcements (1) – Meanwhile, the PM announces non-military help for Libya as well. “…. Through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Government is immediately providing nearly $3 million to support the efforts of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to address the repatriation of people displaced into neighbouring countries. This is in addition to the $5 million in humanitarian assistance that the Government announced on March 2, 2011 for the people of Libya. Today’s announcement raises Canada’s total humanitarian assistance to the crisis in Libya to almost $8 million ….”
- Rash o’ Pre-Election Announcements (2) – This one from Defence Minister Peter MacKay: “…. A new career transition support policy for severely ill and injured Canadian Forces (CF) personnel will come into effect on May 1, 2011. Under this policy, severely ill and injured personnel with complex career transition needs, and who can no longer serve in the Regular Force or Primary Reserve, will be provided a longer transition period before returning to civilian life. For each of these individuals, the CF will develop a tailored and flexible plan that features comprehensive health care, career transition assistance, and the social support of the military community over a period of up to three years. The Minister also announced a change to the CF promotion policy whereby any qualified CF member who has been severely injured in Afghanistan with a battlefield injury will also be eligible for promotion if they continue serving with the CF ….”
- Rash o’ Pre-Election Announcements (3) – One more from the Defence Minister: “The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, in conjunction with The Ottawa Hospital and The Ottawa Hospital Foundation, today helped unveil the Rehabilitation Virtual Reality Laboratory, housing the CAREN system, at The Ottawa Hospital Rehabilitation Centre …. This initiative is another example of CF’s excellent partnership with The Ottawa Hospital that ensures ill and injured CF personnel receive excellent care when they need it the most …. The installation of this system was made possible through the funding efforts of the community, which raised $500,000 for the laboratory at the General Campus of The Ottawa Hospital, and the CF, which contributed $1.5 million to the CAREN system. The Ottawa Hospital Foundation is proud to play a role in making this state-of-the-art tool a reality at the Hospital, said Foundation President and CEO Susan Doyle ….”
- F-35 Tug o’ War (1) – More on the price/cost wrangling.
- F-35 Tug o’ War (2) – Blogger Mark Collins asks how the Liberals are going to deal with future fighter buys if they get back at the helm.
As the “Bribe the Tribes” story picks up a bit of momentum, in addition to denials, we see a bit of re-direction:
Defence Minister Peter MacKay, speaking in St. John’s, described the allegations as likely little more than “Taliban propaganda.”
Retired Canadian major-general Lewis MacKenzie suggested the notion of bribes to the Taliban “smells of a really intelligent piece of propaganda.”
True, we have a British media outlet “confirming” the story with a Taliban “commander”, but let’s look at where the information came from in the original stories that got the ball rolling, shall we?
The clandestine payments, whose existence was hidden from the incoming French forces, were disclosed by Western military officials. (The Times, 15 Oct 09)
One Western military source told of payments made by Canadian soldiers stationed in the violent southern province of Kandahar, while another officer spoke of similar practices by the German army in northern Kunduz. “I can tell you that lots of countries under the NATO umbrella operating out in rural parts of Afghanistan do pay the militants for not attacking them,” the senior Afghan official said. (Agence France-Presse, 16 Oct 09)
Since Canada, Italy and Germany were named by these sources in various venues, I’m guessing the Western officials were not from any of these countries.
I don’t know who told the reporter the initial information that started the research, but it’s interesting to see that it’s mainly allies who are confirming this.
I wonder what agenda these allied “sources” have?
Or should I say “alleged” allies?
All that said, this certainly does give the Taliban an interesting messaging point: look at all the money your pour into defeating us, and we still get money!
A variation of this meme (specifically, some development project money ends up in Taliban hands through protection payments to let the projects be built, convincing enough folks to cause the US government’s international aid agency to look into it), but I haven’t seen any exploitation of this theme by the Taliban themselves.
Then again, maybe they’re happy to sit back, and watch the NATO allies pick away at each other with claims, counterclaims and denials.
Someone more cynical than myself might say we may just be doing the Taliban’s work for them on this one.